Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NPR reviews Body Music

In 'Body Music,' Love Is Sweet, Sexy And A Touch Sentimental

Thanksgiving's comic strips will be themed for charity

Cartoonists' Thursday strips will be auctioned off to benefit hurricane relief

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 22 2017

Local papers on Coco, Lasseter, and Annie

With Coco Pixar Scores Another Hit

The venerable animation studio's latest film is an improvement over its latest misfires.

Washington City Paper Nov 21, 2017

'Coco' puts a fresh face on the dependable Pixar formula

November 21 2017

Disney animation guru John Lasseter takes leave after sexual misconduct allegations [in print as Dinsey creative chief taking leave after 'misssteps'].

By Steven Zeitchik

Washington Post November 22 2017, p. A7

online at

Disney Animation, Pixar chief John Lasseter taking leave

November 21 2017 at 10:55 PM

This 'Annie' doesn't shine despite Daddy Warbucks' commanding voice [in print as 'Annie' is middle-of-the-pack despite a voice in the top 1%].

Theater critic
Washington Post November 22 2017, p. C3.
online at

Annie, book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin. Directed by Jason King Jones. Scenic/projection designer, Daniel Ettinger; costumes, Seth M. Gilbert; lights, Sarah Tundermann; sound design, Roc Lee. About 2½ hours. Through Dec. 31 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. Tickets $42-$84. Call 301-924-3400 or visit

Nov 25: Jason Reynolds, Spider-Man novelist, is everywhere this Saturday


East City Bookshop

From open to close on Saturday, November 25, we'll be celebrating independent bookstores and the vibrance of small businesses in our neighborhood. We'll have treats, a special 10:30 storytime for our youngest patrons, and special guest bookseller Jason Reynolds, Indies First National Spokesperson.

Jason will be in the store from 11:30 to 1:30 on the 25th to sign books, and he'll make holiday reading recommendations. He's giving a presentation at noon, so be there! 


Politics and Prose Bookstore

Click here for Hours and Directions

(202) 364-1919

P&P at The Wharf:
Meet Jason Reynolds

YA superstar and New York Times bestselling novelist Jason Reynolds visits The Wharf as a guest bookseller! From 2–3 p.m., he'll be signing, handselling his favorite books, and hanging out in the store. Don't miss your chance to meet the author of bestselling novels When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, Ghost and most recently Long Way Down. He explains why he supports Indies here.


One More Page Books
2200 N. Westmoreland Street, #101
Arlington, VA 22213
703-300-9746    Visit our website
Mon-Sat: 10 am - 8 pm; Sun: noon to 5 pm

At 5 pm: Meet Jason Reynolds, Indies First Spokesperson and NY Times Bestselling author (ALL AMERICAN BOYS, GHOST, PATINA, LONG WAY DOWN, and MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN). There will be Q&A, trivia games, a book signing (and maybe some karaoke at the end?).
PLUS throughout the day:
- Bookseller Bake-off
- Talk books with the Boozy Booksellers
- Giveaways all day long + Coffee & donuts and more!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

PSA: NCSF Thanks & Giving auction

From National Cartoonist Society President Bill Morrison:

In the wake of the deadly disasters that have recently devastated communities in the Gulf states of Texas and Florida, Mexico, and especially Puerto Rico, the cartooning community has come together to use their unique gifts and talents to raise money to help the victims. 

 On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, The National Cartoonists Society Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society, in conjunction with King Features Syndicate, Andrews McMeel, Creators Syndicate, and the Washington Post Writers Guild, is staging "Thanks + Giving," a unique auction of original artwork, with all proceeds going to help the victims of these overwhelming disasters.

 More than 125 internationally-renowned creators have donated original artwork, including Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Al Jaffee (MAD Magazine), Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), and many other well-known creators.

 Vintage comic strips and comic art will also be available to bid on, including work by Dan DeCarlo ((Archie), Mell Lazarus (Momma and Miss Peach), Morrie Turner (Wee Pals), Brad Anderson (Marmaduke), Brant Parker (The Wizard of Id), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), and more.
 Many of the strips will appear in papers across the country on Thanksgiving Day with a message directing readers to the auction website where they can bid on the original art for that strip, along with the other unique pieces in the auction.

The NCS has enlisted the help of Heritage Auctions, the industry leader in the field of comic and cartoon art, to conduct the auction. The address for the auction is, and the auction will go live on Thursday, November 23rd and will close the following Thursday the 30th. Lots may be previewed immediately at,

All proceeds from the auction will be sent to Direct Relief, a highly-rated charity that specializes in providing humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters. 

 This is a rare chance for fans of comics and collectors of comic art to obtain a unique piece of memorabilia, and at the same time give aid and comfort to those who still desperately need help.

(I'm a member of the NCS, surprisingly enough! - Mike)

The Post's post-mortem on DC Comics movies

Why 'Justice League' failed — and where DC goes from here [in print as DC at crossroads after not-so-super weekend].

Washington Post November 21 2017, p. A18
online at

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cavna's 10 best graphic novels

The Post on The Flash, Justice League's newly-Jewish character

Did this appear in the physical paper?

With 'Justice League,' now there's a Jewish superhero played by a Jewish actor on the big screen

By Noah Berlatsky

Washington Post Acts of Faith blog November 17 2017

PR: Cards Comics & Collectibles reopens with Frank Cho appearance

CC&C Hosts Cho, T-Day Sale, BCC 2018 Announces First Guests!

CC_C Coming Together
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - November 20, 2017 - The Baltimore Comic-Con will return to the Inner Harbor at the Baltimore Convention Center the weekend of September 28-30, 2018. While that's still a long way off, we are excited to announce our initial batch of guests, as well as news about our host store, Cards Comics & Collectibles, throwing their Grand Opening Ceremony, annual Thanksgiving sale, and in-store signing with Frank Cho.

The sponsor store of the Baltimore Comic-Con, Cards Comics & Collectibles of Reisterstown, MD is hosting its official Grand Opening ceremony on Friday, November 24th at 10am with a ribbon-cutting and cake. Come join us at our new location -- 51 Main Street, Reisterstown, MD 21136.

And don't miss our annual Thanksgiving sale, which runs on Wednesday for a Preview Day, and then again on Friday from 11am-7:30pm, Saturday from 11am-7pm, and Sunday from noon-5pm. Featuring:

  • 70% off Modern and Bronze Age back issues and cards 1980-present!
  • 50% off Paperbacks and Hardcovers, cards pre-1980, action figures, Toon Tumblers, and more!
  • 30% off Gold and Silver Age comics!
  • 20% off Store Exclusive Covers (in-store only!), card packs and boxes, new comics, and "New This Week" items!
  • Sunday only:
    • 80% off Modern Back Issue Bins!
    • 60% off Paperbacks and Hardcovers!
Frank Cho

And in celebration of our Grand Opening, join comic book artist Frank Cho (Liberty Meadows, Skybourne, Harley Quinn, Totally Awesome Hulk) signing on Saturday from 2pm-5pm.

And finally, the Baltimore Comic-Con is thrilled to announce, in addition to on-site CGC grading, this year's confirmed guests for the show include:

  • Joel Adams (Bucky O'Hare Graphic Novel Coloring Book)
  • Neal Adams (Deadman)
  • Zeea Adams (Neal Adams Monsters)
  • Mark Buckingham (Scooby Apocalypse)
  • Buzz (Superman: The Coming of the Supermen)
  • Frank Cho (Harley Quinn)
  • Steve Conley (The Middle Age)
  • David Finch (Trinity)
  • Meredith Finch (Rose)
  • Jenny Frison (Wonder Woman)
  • Barry Kitson (The Flash)
  • Hope Larson (Batgirl)
  • Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise)
  • David Petersen (Mouse Guard)
  • Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge)
  • Thom Zahler (Time & Vine)

"2018 is going to be a fantastic year, and we're definitely kicking things off right," said Marc Nathan, show promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "Our new store is spectacular, so if you're in the area, please stop by and check it out. And don't miss Turkey Day deals, Frank Cho in-store, and a chance to bend our ear about next year's Baltimore Comic-Con!"

In the coming weeks, look for more announcements from the Baltimore Comic-Con. We are looking forward to highlighting our guests, the Ringo Awards, industry exclusives, and programming. The latest developments can always be found on our website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

Contact Information

Please use the following e-mail addresses to contact the Baltimore Comic-Con: - for any general press inquiries or to be added to our PR distribution - for requesting exhibitor, publisher, and Artist Alley applications - for inquiries about submitted registrations for general Baltimore Comic-Con inquiries


About The Baltimore Comic-Con

The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 19th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. For more information, please visit

Friday, November 17, 2017

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé


The AAEC has joined with 18 other organizations in calling for the immediate release of cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé, currently held against his will by the government of Equatorial Guinea.

 November 15, 2017

An Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Palacio Presidencial
Avenida de la Libertad
Malabo, Guinea Ecuatorial

Your Excellency,

We write to express our deep concern in response to the unjust arrest and subsequent detention without charge of Ramón Esono Ebalé in Malabo on 16th September 2017, and to urge you to release him immediately.

Mr. Ebalé and two of his friends were stopped by police, handcuffed, and had their mobile phones seized while getting into Mr. Ebalé's sister's car after leaving a restaurant in Malabo. Police then interrogated Mr. Ebalé about his drawings of, and blog posts about members of the Equatoguinean leadership, and told him – in front of his two friends – that he needed to make a statement explaining those drawings and blog posts. It was confirmed by police that only Mr. Ebalé was the target of the arrest, and not his two friends.

Mr Ebalé has learned that he faces potential charges of counterfeiting and money laundering; offences that were apparently never mentioned to him or his friends when they were arrested.   Mr. Ebalé's prolonged detention without charge gives rise to serious concerns that these allegations are no more than a pretext to justify the ongoing arbitrary deprivation of liberty he is being subjected to.

Mr. Ebalé's extended detention at Black Beach prison without charge appears to be a clear violation of Equatorial Guinean law, which requires charges to be filed within 72 hours of an arrest. A judge has not mandated preventative detention in his case, which under exceptional circumstances would allow the police to hold him without charge for longer, nor does there appear to be a basis for such an order.

Mr. Ebalé, a renowned cartoonist who has been living abroad since 2011, has now spent 60 days in prison. His arrest in Equatorial Guinea—where he returned to renew his passport—has received global attention with calls for his release from fellow journalists, artists, activists, and human rights and press freedom organizations.

As Equatorial Guinea prepares to join the UN Security Council in January 2018, the world is watching the case of Mr. Ebalé closely. We hope that as your country takes this prominent position on the world stage, your government respects all human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In this vein, we call on your Excellency, and the judicial authorities in Equatorial Guinea to respect the rights of all artists, human rights defenders, activists, and, more generally, all individuals in Equatorial Guinea who wish to exercise their right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association without fear of being harassed or prosecuted.

To this end, we urge you to order Mr. Ebalé's immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Amnesty International
API Madrid
Arterial Network
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Member of the House of Lords, President of JUSTICE
Cartoonist Rights Network International
Committee to Protect Journalists
EG Justice
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders
The Doughty Street International Media Defense Panel
Transparency International
UNCAC Coalition
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the
Protection of Human Rights Defenders

NPR's Monkey See on Poorly Drawn Lines and Justice League

Cartoonist Reza Farazmand Walks Us Through Some Of His 'Comics For A Strange World'

Rotten tomatoes thrown at Rotten Tomatoes over Justice League

Rotten Tomatoes under fire for timing of 'Justice League' review [in print as Delaying blockbuster's rating, review site draws its own jeers].

Washington Post November 17, 2017, p. A13
online at

Book Review: Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

reviewed by Mike Rhode

Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

by Dan Gearino, Ohio University Press' Swallow Press, 2017. $26.95
Despite the title, Comic Shop focuses at least as much, if not more, on the growth of the Direct Market distribution network that gave rise to independent comic shops and sustains them today. Gearino is a journalist and has written an accessible popular history that relies largely on interviews, much like Slugfest, which we recently reviewed and which works well as a complement to this book.
Gearino focuses on his local comic shop, Laughing Ogre, perhaps slightly too much at times, but it's understandable that he chose a long-lasting, respected store as one of the pillars of his book. He returns to the store's history time and again, while recounting a chronological history of the transfer from comic books as a mass media product sold everywhere on newsstands to one that requires a visit to a specialty shop.

From the 1920s through the 1970s, comic books were sold in newsstands, mom and pop shops and anywhere a distributor could place a rack. Personally, for me, the 7-11 was the main site. The books were dumped on the store which was expected to rack them, and return them for credit when they didn't sell. The comics had a profit for the store in the pennies, so little attention was paid to them. At many times, the books weren't delivered or racked, but a refund was requested anyway, leading to fraudulent losses for the publishers, or misleading sales figures.

In 1973, Phil Seuling, an early creator of Comic Cons, made a deal with DC Comics to buy books for them at a larger discount but on an nonreturnable basis, and get them shipped directly from the printer. Seuling's new company was Sea Gate Distributors. It was soon joined by many competitors who split the United States up between them. As in most businesses, the early wide-open days with multiple distributors and thousands of comic book shops saw financial peaks and troughs as well as widespread consolidations and bankruptcies. Gearino also weaves through the rise of independent comic books such as Elfquest, Bone, Cerebus and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and talks about the importance of a retailer hand-selling these types of comics. Today, one distributor remains standing - Baltimore's Diamond Comics, and we're currently seeing a lot of independent books, small publishers and tactics such as variant covers that usually precede a bust in the market.

Gearino did a good job in doing interviews for his research on the book, but is lighter on using archival and printed sources. His focus on Laughing Ogre's small chain occasionally slows the book down, but I think proved to be a good choice to center the story. An odd choice was made to add in profiles of various stores at the end of the book - not quite an appendix, but not quite part of the book either. I think those could have perhaps been integrated in more seamlessly, although when he invites guest commentary in the main text, it is set off at the end of the chapter and is rather jarring. On a local note, Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics has a two-page profile in the stores section.

This won't be the definitive study of the rise of the Direct Market and specialty comic book stores, but it's a good early step and a fine choice for the casually-interested reader. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Dec 5: Cullen Murphy, Prince Valiant writer at Politics and Prose

Cullen Murphy | Cartoon County

Cullen Murphy, editor at large at Vanity Fair and the author of books including God's Jury, grew up in the middle of a thriving community of illustrators and cartoonists in southwestern Connecticut. His father, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004), who had been a student of Norman Rockwell's, drew the popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt. Their neighbors were the artists responsible for classic comics ranging from Beetle Bailey to Hi and Lois to Family Circus. Murphy's memoir pays tribute to these many creative individuals and warmly evokes the spirit of a bygone era.

This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

The Post on Justice League, Dahmer, The Star, and Annie

What 'Justice League' got wrong about Superman [in print as Super wrong: This isn't why we need the Man of Steel].

Express November 17 2017, p 35
online at

'Justice League': Not as dark as 'Batman v Superman,' but still a gloomy outing [in print as Nothing comic about these superheroes]

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 26, 30
online at

'My Friend Dahmer': Portrait of the serial killer as a young man [in print as A portrait of a killer as a young man].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 30

'The Star': Mixing the profound and the silly, this Nativity-themed animation is a hit-and-miss affair [in print as Nativity-themed animal cartoon is hit-and-miss].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 29
online at

What's on tap for children on Washington-area stages this season [in print as An 'Annie' for a diverse America].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 20
online at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fabulize Magazine interviews Roye Okupe

We Need To Support Black Superheroes Throughout The African Diaspora, Too

Fabulize Magazine, Contributor is a print and digital platform for the blerd womanist that appreciates art, beauty, culture & style. #MySuperheroesAreBlack

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art at the Library of Congress

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art

by Megan Halsband,

This is a guest post by Megan Halsband, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division. It was first published in "Comics! An American History," the September–October issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The issue is available in its entirety online.

City Paper on Justice League

Justice League Learns All the Wrong Lessons From Batman v. Superman's Failures

Zack Snyder's film often feels like the sum of the DC Extended Universe's worst qualities.

Nov 15, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun' "

DC's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock's latest cartoon -

"The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun'"

And so, yet another wannabe neo-McCarthyite "journalist" is busted faking it at a major US media outlet. I can't pretend I'm not enjoying this.

This was inspired by an article that appeared this week in Sputnik News which totally shreds the hell out of a sloppy-ass hit piece in The Atlantic by Julia Ioffe about a meeting between Julian Assange and Donald Trump Jr. which was trumpeted as some kind of "smoking gun" that would validate the last year and a half's worth of neo-McCarthyite conspiracist freakery.

Drip, drip, drip -- muthafuckaaahhhs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Comics Riffs on superhero tv

Superhero actresses are using their power to take on Hollywood sexual harassment

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as The CW stars speak out on harrassment, Express, November 14: 24

'The Punisher' failed at the box office. Netflix finally gets it right.

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as At last, 'The Punisher' gets live-action justice,
Express, November 14: 24